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    Networking Among Trade Promotion Organizations


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2000

    TPOs Meet in Marrakech

    Marrakech, birthplace of the WTO, hosted the third World Conference of Trade Promotion Organizations. The successful event continued a process that began in Cartagena, Colombia, in 1996, and continued in Santiago, Chile, in 1998.

    The meeting allowed national trade promotion leaders to renew contacts, share experiences in using trade promotion tools, and identify ways to develop trade in a fast-changing environment.

    During the conference, it was suggested that ITC develop a virtual community of TPOs. In response, ITC is now developing a World TPO Net web site; planning discussion fora; and increasing its magazine coverage of TPOs. The aim is to facilitate networking among trade promotion organizations and to encourage partnerships with the broader trade development community.

    The conference analysed the effects of globalization on trade promotion systems, reviewed strategies and explored a framework for cooperation among TPOs. Regional approaches for cooperation, information technologies and e-commerce, public- private sector cooperation and evaluation systems were the issues that received most attention.

    Declaration of Trade Promotion Organizations at Marrakech
    We, 112 trade promotion organizations (TPOs) from 70 countries representing five continents, with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC), the participation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and representatives of the private sector, gathered in Marrakech on 25 to 27 October 2000, on the occasion of the third World Conference of Trade Promotion Organizations.

    Having examined new instruments and tools for trade promotion, appropriate directions and strategies in response to the new changes and challenges of international trade and having undergone a broad exchange of experiences with a view to establishing a fruitful and mutually advantageous international cooperation,

    Having underlined the new situation in international trade, characterized by the increasing openness of economies and markets, the strengthening of regional economic groupings, the emergence and development of e-commerce and the preponderance of the Internet,

    Conscious of the necessary adaptations to the missions, attributes, modes of functioning and intervention and of the need for a strategic repositioning of trade promotion systems,

    Have agreed as follows:

    1. To work to create a structure for cooperation among TPOs in the region of Africa and the Middle East, following the example of the cooperation established in Europe, Asia and Latin America, through, respectively, GEPCI, ATPF and Red Ibero-Americana, and to call for closer cooperation between these groupings in order to optimize the exchange of knowledge and technical skills between TPOs.

    2. To put in place, through ITC, a virtual network of TPOs, which will serve as an electronic vector for information exchange, consultation forums and virtual conferences.

    3. To strengthen the capacity of enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, to use new information and communications technologies and to develop systems for e-commerce.

    4. To reinforce North-South and South-South cooperation in the exchange of experiences regarding the implementation of trade promotion techniques, in particular for e-commerce and intellectual property, in order to allow less advanced organizations to use them efficiently, and to incite governments to put in place the necessary facilities and infrastructure.

    5. To follow actively multilateral trade negotiations, given the impact of the evolution of the rules of international trade on economic actors and trade promotion systems.

    6. To emphasize the increasingly close link between trade and investment and to favour synergies between the respective organizations concerned.

    7. To hold the World Conference of Trade Promotion Organizations on a biennial basis.

    Many countries, including the People's Republic of China, have expressed an interest in principle to organize the fourth session of the conference in 2002. If such an interest is formally confirmed, it will be included in the final conference document. Failing this, ITC will be responsible for the follow-up.

    (Unofficial translation by ITC from the French original version.)